ECCC Announcement

East Central Community College Tuesday made announcements affecting the future of the college.

ECCC president, Dr. Billy Stewart, said he has held the news close to the vest for three months.

The first is related to an approximate $2,680,000 gift from the estate of alumna, Frances Gaines Blum Slagle; the second part of the announcement is that the money will be used for scholarships.

Dr. Stewart announced that $50,000 will be used to endow the Willis E. Blum and Frances Blum Slagle Scholarship, and the remaining $2.63 million will be used to endow the Children of Andrew Gaines and Inez Gaines: Marjorie Mansfield, Mary George Pace, Frances Gaines Blum Slagle, Virginia Gaines Smith and Geneva Gaines Boring Tuition Guarantee Scholarship.

Details for both scholarships are currently being developed, but Dr. Stewart says interest earned from the $2.63 million contribution will be used to guarantee tuition for the freshman year for high school graduates who reside in Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott and Winston counties and enroll as freshman students at ECCC the fall semester immediately following high school graduation.

"We will begin efforts to immediately expand the program for more in-district students and for a longer period of time," Stewart said. "We plan to meet with local elected officials, area business and industry and other individuals, in hopes of making this tuition guarantee program available for all students who reside in our five-county service area, and for the sophomore year as well."

The gift is the largest private gift ever received by ECCC.

The scholarships will be available for qualified high school graduates who reside in East Central's five-county district in 2014-15.

(Photo courtesy: ECCC) (L-R) Slagle family representatives Mary Jo Smith-Taylor (niece), of Jackson, Deborah Blum Stamper (daughter), of Marietta, Ga.; and Carole Pace Henry (niece) of Madison; ECCC President Dr. Billy W. Stewart; ECCC Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Jimmy Hollingsworth of Lake; Dr. Stacey Hollingsworth, ECCC Executive Director for Foundation and Alumni Relations; and George Taylor of Forest, ECCC Foundation Chairperson.